Why and Which Stand Mixer Paddle to Use?


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I'd like to get some clarity on this. Stand mixer paddles come in different shapes and sizes. When are they used and why the differences? Also, I've been known to cheat with a sturdy balloon whisk attachment if the paddle's dirty and I'm in a hurry. Is this an issue; what's the advice?
 
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The paddle and the whisk are two completely different tools. So you do not want to use them interchangeably.

The three main attachments are flat beater, balloon whisk and dough hook.

Flat beater is usually referred to as a paddle attachment by home bakers.
  • mixing and blending
  • does not aerate like a whisk
  • Use for:
    • creaming butter and sugar
    • creamed cake & cupcake
    • cookie doughs
    • pate a choux
    • incorporating the butter into meringue buttercream
Whisk is used to aerate a mixture. So the whisk should only be used when a batter or dough requires aeration. So any type of meringue, mousse, soufflé, whipped cream or egg whites, and icings will most likely require the whisk

Used for:
  • Whipped egg whites
  • Whipped cream
  • Meringues
  • Freshly made butter*
Dough hook is used to mix bread dough. But in all honesty it does not. The dough gets wrapped around the hook, and drags around the inside of the bowl. All this does is create friction heat. The dough never moves, so it never properly kneads. The heat just damages the yeast.

The proper type of mixer for bread dough is a spiral mixer not a planetary mixer.

* homemade butter should not be used for baking. Commercially made butter has a specific butterfat content and water content. It is also tempered to ensure it is pliable. When you make butter you cannot achieve any of these standards.
 
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That's all very interesting.

I didn't know you couldn't use homemade butter, which I love, for baking. The other question about home made butter is how useful the butter milk is for baking?

And the dough hook makes sense too. I've watched it here and thought it wasn't doing much and found the need to finish the process by hand.
 
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Different brands of butter have different levels of butterfat.
  • Butter is produced either salted or unsalted
  • Butter is either sweet cream or cultured
  • Butterfat ranges from 80% - 86%
  • Butter can be very hard to very pliable (Kerrygold brand) cold
  • Butter is sold in various forms, including, cubes, bulk blocks, sheets for lamination, whipped.

Choosing the correct butter for the application is important to the quality of the product, the flow of production time, and the budget.

The home bakers have this belief that anything they make at home must be “superior” because it is “homemade.” They don’t understand the complexity of ingredients.

Butter will leak water; it will turn rock hard; it will crumble. There is no way for a home baker to know the butterfat content or the water content of a butter made at home. Baking is chemistry, so a baker must know what is going in the bowl to control the chemical reaction.

A quality butter is extremely complicated to produce.

Manufacturers are very protective of their processes as the breed of cow, type of feed, pasteurization (tempering) effects the quality of butter.

In early manufacturing of commercial butter the quality was very inconsistent. Batches would go from rock hard to crumbly. On batch would be dry. The next would leak water.
Once scientists became involved they were able to isolate the problems. Just to give you an idea of how complex butter manufacturing is a few of the published studies on butter.


R.M. Dolby
The Effect of Temperature Treatment of Cream Before Churning on the Consistency of Butter
J. Dairy Research, 21 (1954), p. 67

V.R. Huebner, L.C. Thomsen
Spreadability and Hardness of Butter. II. Some Factors Affecting Spreadability and Hardness
J. Dairy Sci., 40 (1957), p. 389

L.C. Thomsen
Controlling Butter Defects Caused by Cows on Dry Feed
Milk Products J., 49 (2) (1958), p. 53


G.A. Richardson, F.H. Abbott
Prevention of the Defect in the Consistency of Butter Due to an Alfalfa Hay Ration

Wilster, G.H., Jones, I.R., and Haag, J.R. Crumbliness and Stickiness in Butter. Physical and Chemical Properties of the Milk Fat. Oregon Agr. Expt. Sta. Tech. Paper 361. Corvallis, Oregon, 1941


L.C. Thomsen
Controlling Butter Defects Caused by Cows on Dry Feed
Milk Products J., 49 (2) (1958), p. 53

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A stand mixer is a planetary mixer. The mixer head rotates and the bowl is stationary. So the dough just wraps around the dough hook.

A spiral mixer, which is designed for mixing dough, has a rotating mixer head AND a rotating bowl. A properly designed one also has a center post.

Since both the bowl and mixer head rotate the dough/batter glides between the two surfaces instead of drags against the surface of the bowl. This significantly reduces friction, so less friction heat is generated. Less friction heat means less risk of over heating the dough and killing the yeast. It also moves the dough, so the dough is actually kneaded.
When there is a center post, the dough cannot climb up the dough hook, so the dough is actually moved by the hook, instead of just wrapped around it.

This is how a dough should be kneaded by a mixer. The dough hook actually moved through the dough. With the KitchenAid the dough is just stuck on the hook and dragged. The dough never gets kneaded at all. This is why planetary mixers are not used in bread bakeries.


 
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OK, that all makes sense and I love the motion and sound of the mixer in the video.

As for the buttermilk from the butter. What use do you find that? Because it's not fermented.
 
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OK, that all makes sense and I love the motion and sound of the mixer in the video.

As for the buttermilk from the butter. What use do you find that? Because it's not fermented.

oh I’m sorry I forgot to answer your buttermilk question. Real buttermilk is actually cultured.

The stuff that they sell in the grocery store is not the real stuff anymore. But when I was a kid they used to sell real buttermilk. My grandmother was from the southern part of the United States. And buttermilk is a favorite to use in baking. But it was also for drinking. I remember my grandmother drinking it straight out of the bottle.

I only know of one dairy in the United States that produces real buttermilk.

if you want to use the buttermilk from
butter churns, you will need to add a buttermilk culture.


The dairy that produces real buttermilk. Unfortunately they’re very small so their distribution is very limited.
 
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is this the real stuff?

Yes! That’s the real stuff. When I was a child though I absolutely hated buttermilk. I could not understand how my grandmother could drink that stuff. I’m still not sure I would drink it. But if I could purchase real buttermilk for my baking I would do so in a heartbeat
 
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That place is in Wales and a for bulk orders. I'll try and find somewhere closer. What use is the buttermilk left over from making butter from cream?
 
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That place is in Wales and a for bulk orders. I'll try and find somewhere closer. What use is the buttermilk left over from making butter from cream?

Buttermilk is used in butter and pound cakes, cupcakes, Quick breads, muffins, American biscuit (not the UK cookie), scones, pancakes. Buttermilk can be used in any recipe that has milk in it.

Buttermilk adds a slight tangy flavor, like yogurt or sour cream. It’s acidic, so it changes the pH of the alkaline (baking soda). Where alkaline causes browning the change in pH from the buttermilk, will help inhibit the browning in cakes.

Buttermilk is really complex. While the acids acts as a tenderizer, the cultures also build structure. That’s why simply mixing vinegar or lemon juice in milk is a really poor substitute for buttermilk.

if you look at this article, you see the products with the cultures (buttermilk yogurt, and kefir) product big fluffy biscuits.

 

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